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The Art of Synergy
Reggie Baylor, Timothy Westbrook and more put their spins on brand power.

WRANGLER MEN by Daniel Fleming
Image courtesy of UW-Parkside and Hanson Dodge Creative 

Behind every great advertising and marketing campaign is a group of creative minds. But this concept gets a high-octane boost from local artists, who have been rounded up  by Reggie Baylor's Plaid Tuba, and then given the task of using their respective media to create unique works of art about a smattering of local and national brands. The exhibit dubbed "Branding Creativity" opens tonight in the Fine Arts Gallery at University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and according to a statement, is meant to blur the lines between fine art and commercial art.

And if the hoopla over Robert Indiana's MECCA (an example of the aforementioned blurring) is an indicator, this exhibit seems quite timely. While artists co-opting brands isn't new (ahem, Andy Warhol), brands also have been known to put their own spin on traditional (and hugely famous) artists' work. Or take them outright.

The brands in this exhibit, many of which are local, include Central Waters Brewing Company, Koss, Wicked Hop, Growing Power, MECCA, Uline, Chrysler/Nash, MillerCoors, the Pfister Hotel, Pabst Brewery and Case Construction. The local artists include Timothy Westbrook, Reggie Baylor, Heidi Witz, Sarah Bott, James B. Young and more.

The finished pieces range from a dress made of what looks like a Pfister Hotel umbrella, to sequined shoes in Pabst Blue Ribbon colors, and a host of colorful prints, charcoal drawings and paintings.

The exhibit runs through March 5.

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